Portstewart kicked off the new season in perfect fashion on Saturday as they recorded a 2-0 win away at Banbridge Town.
New boys Johnny Stewart and David McClements were the heroes for Gary Taylor’s men as they hit the goals to secure all three points at Crystal Park
Town keeper Stephen Croft was quickly off his line as early as the fourth minute to clear a dangerous situation and minutes later defender Stephen Greene was on hand to clear a cross from experienced Portstewart midfielder Lee Forgrave.
Town’s first real effort came from a Conor Downey shot as he cut in from the right but Joel Madison in the Seahawks goals proved more than a match for it.
The enigmatic Downey could have given the home side a 12th minute lead, but was denied by a combination of the post and good goalkeeping by Madison
This was the start of Town’s only purple patch in the game and Michael Ferguson should have done much better soon after when after robbing Portstewart’s Ramsey on the byline he shot wide when a pass across an empty goal to a fellow forward would surely have reaped dividends.
The visitors were proving a handful in fast counter attacks and Stewart fired just wide of Croft’s upright after 25 minutes.
The latter came to Town’s rescue in the 31st minute when he got down to smother Stewart’s ground drive after the Portstewart No.10 raced behind the home rearguard.
Just before the half-time whistle Damian McParland sent Mark Teggart through on goal but Madison pushed his effort out for a fruitless corner. The evergreen McParland curled a left foot shot just wide from a Teggart corner in the 50th minute as the game threatened to be one of those goalless affairs.
However Portstewart were having none of that and when they forced a corner two minutes later that man Stewart found himself unmarked at the near post and duly obliged by proding the ball past Croft to shock careless Town.
To give Banbridge some credit they began to show some fight after this and Ferguson blasted wide on 59 minutes.
Four minutes later a James Wilson cross was met by a downward header from Conor Downey which Madison held at the base of the post.
The Seahawks did have a lucky escape in the 73rd minute when a Downey cross into the box caused mayhem and a defender sent a header crashing on to his own crossbar in a desperate attempt to clear.
However it was all to no avail when after 86 minutes Portstewart substitute McClements was on hand to stroke a loose ball home after another corner had not been cleared by the home rearguard.
Banbridge Town: Stephen Croft, James Wilson, Nathan Baird, Stephen Greene, Glen Waddell, Stephen Jones, Mark Teggart, Martin Buchanan, Conor Downey, Damian McParland, Michael Ferguson. Subs: Ryan Gregg (for Ferguson 73 mins.), Shannon Drainey (for McParland 90 mins.), Ryan Gourley (for Jones 73 mins.), Dylan Martin, Paul McGrath (GK).
Portstewart: Joel Madison, Craig Ramsey, Adam Campbell, James Pedan, Stuart Millar, Dean Murray, Robert Donnen, Lee Forgrave, Nigel Turner, Johnny Stewart, Ryan Doherty. Subs: David McClements (for Stewart 70 mins.), Sam Boylan (for Donnen 81 mins.), Ryan McAllister, Gary Quinn, Darren McGowan.
Referee: Neil Robinson, Portadown.